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Photo credit: www.sportiva.com

La Sportiva Bushido running shoes review

07-Apr-16

Last updated: 17-Aug-18

By Fiona Outdoors

La Sportiva Bushido is a technical shoe “created for the world of skyrunning competitions”. It is described as super lightweight, sticky and aggressive.

Features

  • Uppers: Breathable Air Mesh with “high frequency applied to rip-stop fabric”
  • Lining: Mesh, plus no-sweat lateral mesh inserts
  • Stretch Air Mesh tongue
  • Midsole: Compressed EVA with Rock-Guard insert in dual density EVA on the forefoot
  • Footbed: 4mm Ortholite Mountain Running Ergonomic
  • Sole: Lighter weight Dual mix FriXion XT with Impact Brake System and lugs for attaching AT Grip Spikes
  • Normal volume
  • Drop: 6mm
  • Weight: Men’s size 42 is 610g pair
  • For women and men
  • Price: RRP £100

Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors.

La Sportiva has designed the shoes to offer stability on all types of off-road terrain thanks to the “STB Control” construction. The TPU frame at the side of the uppers “reaches and embraces the midsole in the medial part of the shoe” to offer a snug fit and greater stability. This means that the shoe remains lightweight but still offers good stability because they have avoided inserting“heavy stabilizers”.

The lugs on the sole of the shoe have been designed to create continuous ground contact, aided by the rounded shape of the external lugs, which gradually rise laterally to touch the midsole.

In addition, La Sportiva have designed in “thermo adhesive micro fibre reinforcements to protect against rubbing and abrasion”, as well as “high frequency reinforcements for the lacing” to create an equal partition of tension during training runs.

Pros: What’s good about the La Sportiva Bushido shoes

The fit is really good. I have a long and narrow foot and I usually find that the forefoot is too wide but the La Sportiva’s fit beautifully. My foot felt fully supported in the snug upper and very comfortable.

The shoes are described as “normal volume” and I agree with this.

The footbed is fairly flat and I like that. If you prefer more arch support you would need to change the footbed.

These shoes feel like they are somewhere between a minimalistic design and a fully cushioned and super-stable shoe. I like this because it offers the right amount of support and cushioning for my lighter physique and for hill and mountain path running.

Another feature that I appreciate is the cushioned and, therefore, comfortable tongue. It is also a generous length so there are no worries about the tongue slipping down behind the laces.

Once the shoes were laced up I felt like the La Sportivas had been custom made to fit me.

Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors.

If you are looking for a super flexible shoe this is not the one for you. The sole is stiffer than, for example, Inov-8 trail shoes but this means you get better stability when running. If you have weak ankles these shoes would be a good choice because of the extra stability.

I found the traction of the shoes was very good especially on rocks, wet paths, muddy trails, grass and generally soft off-road terrain.

When I had first looked at the soles I didn’t think they would be good on wet rocks but they performed surprisingly well. La Sportiva are well known for their climbing shoes and approach shoes where sticking to rock is vital and I think they have brought some of this technology to these trail shoes.

You can add extra traction by fitting La Sportiva AT grip spikes to the outer lugs. This is a great idea, whether it’s for mud, ice or snow.

The design and spacing of the lugs stopped mud and debris clogging up the soles of the shoes so they stayed grippy for the duration of each run.

Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors.

The soles are also made of what looks like a durable material and I can see them giving me many, many months of running before they wear out.

The shoes also look like they are solidly built. There is a good amount of protection around the edge of the shoes from rocks and general trail debris. The shoes have more than just a basic upper fabric so I expect them to be durable and long lasting.

From the first run in the shoes they felt as though they were perfect for me. The fit is like a slipper and I had total confidence in the traction.

Another bonus was that when I ran through bog and puddles, although the water did come into the shoe, it was able to quickly dissipate back out through the mesh uppers. This is useful for generally wet Scottish hills!

The design and colours of the shoes are also lovely. The colours, especially of the female shoes, are bright and beautiful. Sadly, after my first muddy run, the shoes ended up less beautiful but it’s still great to have pretty shoes for off-road running!

Cons: What’s not so good about the La Sportiva Bushido shoes

As I wrote above if you prefer flexible running shoes that give a more natural feel these are not for you. The soles are stiffer and on harder surfaces they felt a bit slappy.

La Sportiva say the trainers are meant for all kinds of off-road terrain but I disagree. On harder packed forest trails where there are lots of stones I could feel these coming through the sole, which became uncomfortable after a while.

I think the sole is quite thin at the forefoot and unforgiving if you are on harder surfaces. There are few runs, in my experience, that do not include some amount of hard-packed trails or tarmac so it’s worth thinking about where you will run with these shoes.

Photo credit: www.sportiva.com

There is not a lot of cushioning in the footbed or soles of these shoes. You’ll either love this or hate it. I found the shoes were great to run in on softer hill paths and muddy trails but on harder surfaces they felt more jarring.

La Sportiva also call these super lightweight shoes but I disagree. They are not heavy but they are not the lightest that I own/have tested. The shoes feel “fairly” lightweight, in my opinion, rather than the claimed “super lightweight”.

If you have a wide foot the shoes might not be ideal for you.

Lastly, while the shoes do perform very well and many of the claims match the test runs I prefer brands to use less jargonistic descriptions about features. I had trouble understanding what a lot of the design details and features are meant to do. I much prefer descriptions that are straightforward and written for all to understand.

Photo credit: Fiona Outdoors.

Conclusion

This is a great shoe to run in. It is comfortable, supportive, highly grippy and very well designed. The descriptions of features and details left me confused and a bit annoyed but when out on the trails and in the hills I forgot about all that and simply enjoyed running in La Sportiva Bushidos. But be aware that you will experience a harder and “slappier” run underfoot on hard-packed and/or stony trails and tarmac. The shoes also look great and if you can pick up a pair for less than the RRP of £100 are a good – and hopefully, long-lasting – buy.

Score  
Design 9/10
Features 9/10
Performance 8/10
Value 8/10
Total 8.5/10


Other shoes you may want to consider:

La Sportiva Ultra Raptor
Saucony Peregrine 6
Montrail Fluidflex F.K.T. Shoes
Brooks Cascadia 10

About the writer: Fiona is a keen runner, preferring off-road and hilly to flat and road. She lives in Scotland where the weather is fickle so needs to be prepared for all conditions.

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“the shoe remains lightweight but still offers good stability”

Where to buy

La Sportiva Bushido trail running shoes for women View deal
La Sportiva Bushido trail running shoes View deal
La Sportiva Bushido for women View deal
La Sportiva Bushido for men View deal
La Sportiva Bushido trail running shoes for women View deal
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Comment Arrow

gioelepassoni

03:00 26-01-18

This shoe fits amazingly around your foot. It's like a sock! Not suggested for long distances and "easier" terrains! It also looks stunning.